The Strategist

How to push aside all obstacles and get the result

01/13/2017 - 15:53

The best way to achieve success is to get rid of obstacles and constraints that stand in your way. Ask yourself a question: "What exactly is stopping me from moving to the goal?" And eliminate the problem. Greg McKeon explained how to do it properly.

Look for a cause, not for a symptom

Usually people perform tasks randomly. They react to crises rather than anticipate them. So when problems are detected, they have to find solutions as soon as possible. Figuratively speaking, people plug a hole in a dam with their fingers, and hope that the wave does not burst forth in its entirety. If such a person is used to handle a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail to him. He would tap on and on, not realizing that it increases level of stress and frustration.

Of course, such surface-making is not enough. We must fight not with obvious symptoms of a disease, but seek the cause instead. Not only you just solve the problem - you minimize your effort and maximize the result.

Focus on the main goal

It is impossible to determine what obstacles stand in your way, if you do not know the very purpose of moving. When a person is not sure what he wants to achieve, any changes will be random.

Ask yourself: "How do you know that it's done?" Let's suppose that your goal is to create a 15-page draft report, attach it to a letter and send it to the client up to two o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday. Now you have a specific task, rather than a general idea of what that something needs to be done.

Identify the weakest link

Instead of immediately embarking on the project, give yourself a few minutes to think. Ask yourself: "What obstacles may be encountered on my way? What can prevent me to finish the job?" Draw up a list of them. Maybe you are not information enough, or you are too tired, or struggle to make everything perfect. Look at the list and ask yourself: "Is it possible to remove some of these obstacles, so that all the rest would also disappear?"

When you are tracking down the weakest link in the process, remembered that even those activities that seem productive (research, employee survey, rewriting the report for error correction) can actually be impediments. Do not forget that your goal is to complete a draft of the report. Everything should be questioned.

Very often, achievement of this goal interferes with several obstacles. However, only one of them will become basic at some point in time. The side barriers removed will not profit you, if the main obstacle is still in force. 

Get rid of obstacles

Suppose that your main problem is perfectionism. You are trying to make your report perfect, and you have dozens of ideas on how to achieve this. In this particular case, however, your task is to create a draft. To get rid of the obstacles, change your mental attitude from "perfect or nothing" to "better to make something than make nothing". Allow yourself be imperfect. By getting rid of the main problem, you will feel that other aspects of the work are becoming much easier.

Based on ''Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less'' by Greg McKeown